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December 12, 2006 > How to care for your Christmas tree

How to care for your Christmas tree

by Mona Shah

There’s nothing quite like the scent of a fresh cut evergreen tree for Christmas. But they do need some care to help keep them fresh all month long. When a Christmas tree is cut, over half of its weight is water. If the tree isn’t diligently watered, it will grow dry, stale and brittle. Here are a few tips to keep your tree fresh and lush:

  1. When buying a tree, make sure you look for one with a healthy, deep green color and needles that spring back when bent. Bump the trunk on the ground two or three times to loosen any dead needles. Some needle shedding is normal, but if they are falling heavily after two or three bumps, the tree is too dry. Pass it up.

  2. Cut about a half-inch off the trunk base to remove hardened sap that will prevent the tree from drawing water. As soon as you get home put your tree in a water-filled stand.

  3. Trees get thirsty, so check the water daily. As a general rule, the stand should provide one quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Many hardware stores sell a “fresh tree” preservative. These preservatives do help keep the tree fresh longer.

  4. Position the tree away from heat sources like fireplaces or heating vents.

  5. Decorate with small lights that give off little heat, so as not to dry out the needles. Replace worn or non-functioning lights.

  6. Turn off tree lights when you are not at home or before going to bed.

With a little foresight, your family’s traditional Christmas centerpiece will retain its beauty and marvelous fragrance throughout the holiday season.
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